So what are the essential bits of gear any self respecting traveller needs to tour with? My aim is to tempt and tease, education is unlikely, but you never know. This is our first year or so living and travelling in a mobile home so what would we know anyway you very rightly ask? OK well here goes, you might take a morsel of something away…maybe.
In the kitchen
Here’s a selection of gadgets we find make those meals a fine dining experience on the road
- Garlic crusher: Joseph Joseph (who names themself twice – I mean, really) – why do we like it? It’s much smaller and lighter than traditional crushers, and much easier to clean.
- Nested pan set: courtesy of Tefal – expensive and heavy but go the distance with a prawn vindaloo fighting back
- Manual food processor: by Chef’n – a cross between a mandolin and a salad spinner – a few good yanks and your hummus is all fluffy and your Greek friends are greener than an Irish pub on St Patricks night
- Folding grater: by Joseph (I’m so good I named myself twice) Joseph…again…
- Folding (there’s a theme here for the quick minded) collander: can’t give you a make here but Howard Storage World the likely purveyor…they see us coming and rub their hands.
- Knife set: courtesy of Scanpan – the differentiator – all have covers on for those hasty moments when the wine count is up and you reach into the draw and ouch…no longer…we brought some for our friends and thought…nah…we want some as well.
- Wine aerator: by Vinturi – the travel model – we have them all – the table “I’m a wine knob version”, the pocket “never be without it” model..and this little bit of magic that turns your average BWS plonk into…well…something a little bit better
- Wine glasses by Govino: the “even I cant break them” type – plastic but oh so elegant!
- Inflatable wine storage: now that one got your attention didn’t it? All the way from our China these little lovelies take a few pumps from your bike pump and up they thrust (easy there tiger). Just brilliant at keeping those precious reds coddled down the Gibb River Road…or any road, really….
- Stop boule’ (champagne stopper): all the way from Jallance winery in Provence – now these guys now how to keep the party going – we have still had fizz 7 days after the cork has popped (don’t look for any metaphoric meaning there)
- Red wine stain remover: enough said 🙂 – I think you can get the drift of how our caravan trips are focused….hic
In the lounge, bed and bathroom
Here’s some things we wanted to highlight as making life a little more fun and comfortable on the road
- 2 TB hard drive (Seagate). Best $100s I’ve spent. Over 500 albums in our old CD selection digitised, many we haven’t listened to for far too long in the quest for something new and shiny from Spotify. Now we have an excuse when off-line (travelling in Australia that’s an awful lot of long, unconnected nights)
- HDMI to lightning lead: I wish someone had reminded me to bring one of these with me as I have a perfectly good one locked away at home. Use case: connect the video content on your Apple device to the the dumb TV (if you haver a smart TV in your caravan I think you have way too much money!)
- Electric USB chargeable toothbrush: I know, a bit flash but who wants to go back to manual brushing for 6 months while you travel? We brought the tear jerkingly expensive Philips Sonicare model. It does look like something out of a sex toy catalogue (all black and shiny), but keeps those molars polished and healthy.
- Bedding: now pay attention, how important is a good night’s sleep? I have been converted from the good old doona (quilt for our non-Australian readers) to layers. So here’s the thing, when you go to bed in WA its around 23 degrees, then at some point during the early hours its 12 degrees and you wake up wondering who transported you to Scotland. Now with a doona its binary – on or off. We have a top sheet, empty quilt cover, washable warm cotton blanket, and for very those really cold nights the secret weapon…a silk one side and velvet the other thick cover. Side story: we got caught out camping once and in a small town somewhere in the Southern Highlands it was the only piece of bedding we could find in a chic (i.e. expensive!) little shop. I’m not suggesting you duplicate this, but consider layering v quilt.
In the boot/garage/ tool boxes
Here’s some of the gear we have found works the best for us – and what gear hasn’t made the cut.
Chairs: Oz Tent…..comfortable, solid arm rests with wine glass holders (that we don’t use – don’t want to risk spillages with our nice drops!)
Table: We bought the Dune4WD white laminated table from Anaconda. Matches brilliantly with the colour scheme (important of course)
BBQ: Weber Baby Q of course – if you haven’t got one of these already and you’re on the road then you’re in a very small minority. Eyeing up the new casserole dish. I don’t make casseroles but hey…that’s not the point is it? We didn’t opt for the pull out slide because you need to place the Weber out of the wind to get it working well. So we have the stand flat in the boot.
Fire pit: the Drifta large model makes having a fire where and when you want it a breeze. Folds flat and then pops up and is placed in exactly the right spot without burning any ground. More efficient on wood as well than just a normal fire on the ground.
Washing line: not entirely happy with the model we have – too fiddly to put up. Haven’t seen anything better yet but on the hunt.
Storage box 1: I like to keep small items we use regularly in here: e.g. jack handle, locking pin for hitch, in line water filter on a short piece of hose for filling the tanks, anti-flap kit for awning, glove and spray for cleaning the loo.
Storage box 2: Wooden blocks for underneath the jack and stabiliser legs.
Grey water hose: in storage bag
Hosepipe: in storage bag
Chocks for wheels
Privacy Screens: standard screens are too short given the high clearance – we had custom screens made – only worked out an extra $50 per screen.
Matting: we have found the CGear mat for under the awning really robust. Given it was designed to land helicopters on I guess it should be!
Spare hosepipe: for those fill ups where the tap is handily located nowhere near the site
Large fold out bucket: washing car and van
Small fold out bucket: cleaning products for car and van
Wheel clamp: only used this once – might not bring on the next trip and just use while at home and storing the van.
Gas: 2 small bottles for the Weber, so we have a spare.
Tool Box 2
Generator: Honda (model?) with quiet running mode, strapped to the slide provided as standard. Not used it yet as we have been travelling through the sunny winter months up in WA. And our solar system been so good.
Fuel and oil: for the genny
Power leads: one long (30 metres I think) and one shorter for the majority of sites. Just occasionally the power is miles away. Also have a normal 10A extension lead for running from the van to the car battery charger
15A to 10A converter: pricey but essential for plugging in at home – brought it with us just in case van needs to be left in storage/repairer powered up.
Cycling gear: my specialist bike packing bags, and our normal panniers (handy for doing the shopping).
Gear for working up a thirst
All of this is stored in the Landcruiser, except the bikes.
Bikes: fat is good when you have eyesight like mine, the 29×3 wheels on my Surly ECR are very forgiving on sand and gravel, and generally keep me up right. Mrs A has a 27.5 MTB, a little more dainty, but gets the job done. We have used them a fair amount on the trip so far. Mounted up on the extended drawbar, nice job from our friend Wardy getting the racks mounted.
Packrafts: I think we have given these a bit of airplay (pardon the pun) in our blog, but let me summarise. They were a new purchased just before we left, and specifically for the trip. An inflatable kayak essentially, but lighter, just 2.2 kg. The business case was to get our big, heavy, plastic double kayak off the car roof and improve our fuel economy by lightening the load. Plus we are able to carry these things into launch sites that otherwise would be inaccessible portaging our 27kg plastic kayak. Worked out very well. We have notched up some great times in the rafts, carrying then into gorges, quietly paddling up spying wildlife. We bought them from an Australian company who have just started up in Victoria, previously you would have had to buy in from the US…a lot more expensive. See their products at http://www.kokopellipackraft.com/packrafts/rogue-lite
Hiking gear: here’s what we don’t leave base without:
- Day packs: our Oprey Talons are fantastic – blue for her and black for him, 22 litres (just right for summer day hikes we find) are always kept loaded with the essentials so we don’t forget anything.
- EPIRB (emergency beacon) – we would be a days walking/driving to the nearest hospital sometimes
- First aid kit: basic stuff plus Tea Tree oil – magic cure for everything.
- GPS: a back up for off-line maps downloaded from Google and view on the iphone
- Hydration: we both carry a Camelbak Forge – a drinking flask that will keep water cold for a few hours.We carry our spare water in the Camelbak Chute – vacuum sealed – add some ice will easily keep water cold all day.
- Cooking on the go: MSR Pocket Rocket and titanium mugs – mine is large enough to double as a cook pot
- iPhone with Google Maps – download section for the area we are to use off-line
- Waistcoats: the Icebreaker merino range is awesome – they have an incredible warm to weight ratio. Pack up so small but keep you snug.
- Shoes: For me: Crocs have bought out a new sandal with a softer fabric, the Swiftwater. They are the comfiest sandal I have ever owned. I have literally worn them every day, whether that’s around camp, or pottering along rocky beaches. These shoes are awesome. I’ve always loved my Keen sandals but these are a third of the price and twice as comfy. For her Birkenstock sandals – once you get over the breaking in you cannot beat them for foot support and comfort.